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What Will You Become: Saw Gerrera and Armed Revolution

saw-whitaker

The Star Wars universe, despite originally depicting a very Manichean struggle between good and evil, has become in the decades since the original movie a very morally nuanced place. I’ve mentioned before that if I look at the current status of the franchise, I’m tempted to consider Star Wars to be more of an anti-war story than a war one, but that’s a debate that we’ve had on this website very recently. Personally, I feel that although the original trilogy no doubt romanticized armed insurgency, George Lucas’s point of view on war and violence had evolved and become considerably more pacifist by the time the prequels and The Clone Wars rolled in.

Behind the curtain of space fantasy, George Lucas told the audience about things like false flag operations, the military-industrial complex, and factionalism in insurgencies. The heroes of the story, the Jedi, lose because they get involved in war. War itself is bad. If we look at the totality of the material that Lucas himself produced under the banner of Star Wars, behind all of the heroics and the swashbuckling, it sure appears to tell us that war sucks. But is there a way to add a bit more nuance to this message without negating it? Read More

Fatal Faves: Children of the Jedi

You want Star Wars? I got you, fam.
You want some primo Star Wars? I got you, fam.

So, this is my thinkpiece on why Bloodline is the greate– nahhhh, let’s talk about Children of the Jedi.

Picture yourself on the Internet, and try to imagine that everyone hates something that you love and hold dear. I know, unthinkable of, right? That kind of online hate? Who would do that? So you won’t believe how offended I was when Mike said that this new section, Fatal Faves, was going to spotlight indefensible areas and works of the Star Wars universe that we still love anyway, because fuck it. Because honestly, I feel like I’ve been defending Children of the Jedi for the last twenty years in a pretty badass lonely crusade, like some long-haired Toshiro Mifune ronin or some overweight Leonidas yelling “Roganda!!!!” before charging alone against the masses of the haters. So yes, I’ll say it here: I love Children of the Jedi and I don’t hate myself for it. Not most of the time. Sometimes. Only when it gets dark.

In this fandom saying that you love Children of the Jedi is like playing a selection of the best moments of RuPaul’s Drag Race before a Westboro Baptist Church congregation. If you admit that you drink the Kool-Aid of the Eye of Palpatine, you are hated by the Legends fans, you are also hated by the movie purists, hell, you are probably hated by people that have never read a Star Wars book but just found out that the book has a tuberculous plant called topato and a pet called pittin. “What’s wrong with you, freak!? Didn’t you recently throw a fit over the use of stupid words like flimsiplast instead of human words like paper? Why don’t you go back to your stupid continent? God, I’m a staunch Hilary supporter, but I’m voting Drumpf just to see you walled out of my country!” Read More

The Force Does Not Throw Dice: 1d100 Bounty Hunters!

Han rolled first
Han rolled first!

Hello and welcome again to The Force Does Not Throw Dice, our irregular feature devoted to the world of pen-and-paper roleplaying games set in the Star Wars galaxy. This time we have a slightly different treat to offer.

For the past weeks I’ve been quite busy rediscovering a fantastic classic aventure called Tatooine Manhunt and writing a retrospective on it. During the research process, an idea came to me: a classic roleplaying article, the one you would find in fanzines back in the 1980s and that you can still find in several blogs around the Internet. I’m talking about a random table, on its most Gygaxian nature.

In the following table, you are going to find one hundred bounty hunter concepts, ready for you to flesh out and use in your games. Use this table if you desperately need to give some character to a random bounty hunter encounter (something that happens often in Tatooine Manhunt), if your players have been naughty and you desperately need a hunter to set their sights on them, or if you simply want ideas. If you don’t have time to stat them out, don’t worry about it: use the stock bounty hunter stats you will find in the rulebooks, no matter the system.

These descriptions are short and sweet, describing the general appearance and their weaponry, what usually makes a bounty hunter memorable; you are expected to flesh out the rest of the character, discard what you don’t like and change it to your liking. You might also want to use this table as a springboard of ideas for your fanfiction: feel free to do it! That’s the point.

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Continuity with a Smile: The Lessons of HoloNet News

Hey, it's the two-headed Benedict Cumberbatch alien.
Hey, it’s the two-headed Benedict Cumberbatch alien.

Canon and continuity seem to be an excessively important issue for a big chunk of the hardcore Star Wars fandom. It’s been almost two years since the Star Wars continuity was rebooted and trimmed down, and the continuity wars (well, to be honest, the continuity playground arguments) don’t seem to be going to die anytime soon. The current official position appears to be a more informal approach to continuity, one less bogged in minutiae and more interested in storytelling opportunities, something that we have argued for from this website. And still, for all the disturbing behavior of a very vocal sector of the Bring Back Legends crew and for how tempting it is to point and laugh at them, we can’t ignore that that anal, exhaustive, all-encompassing approach to continuity that they seem to prefer was for a long time the official stance.

Yes, the sweet lie of a water-tight Star Wars continuity was a lie fed by Lucasfilm and its affiliates, sometimes quite aggressively. This tedious, mind-numbing, encyclopedic approach to what should be a fantastic universe full of magic and mystery was fed by hundreds of guides and technical specifications and was sponsored by just as many novels and comics, whose only purpose was to patch a completely unwieldy continuity that had grown without control or direction. Let’s not forget that all these works were official ones, that the G-canon, C-canon, WTF-canon nonsense came from Lucasfilm employees. That’s why it’s necessary to look at the times the old EU seemed to shun that approach, as a way to perhaps learn how to avoid these pitfalls in the futures. And one of the best examples of this is, without any doubt, the defunct HoloNet News, the website Lucasfilm released to promote Attack of the Clones. The website decided to smooth over continuity using two weapons: humor and a knowing wink.

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Looking to the Past: Star Wars Rebels and West End Games

Yes, I first owned the sometimes hilarious Spanish translation. Leave me alone.
Yes, I first owned the sometimes hilarious Spanish translation. Leave me alone.

Since the first announcement of the Expanded Universe reboot, it was said that what now is known as Star Wars Legends was still going to be used, not as gospel but as an inspiration and source for the new canon. And there’s perhaps no better place to see that The Powers That Be were not kidding than in the romance that the Star Wars Rebels cartoon has with the old roleplaying game published by West End Games, a game that introduced such classic concepts as Imperial Inquisitors, the Imperial Security Bureau or Interdictor cruisers, concepts that have lately graced our TVs. But why the WEG game? What makes such a venerable source so suitable to become part of the backbone of the new continuity?

West End Games published the very first Star Wars roleplaying game. The first edition of their game was released in 1987, and soon became the most authoritative source of reference material on anything related to the Galaxy Far Far Away. Initially having nothing to base their sourcebooks on but the original trilogy, the novelizations and radio dramas, and Brian Daley’s Han Solo novels, the developers of the roleplaying game took on the task of expanding this universe and not only dissected and classified the existing sources, but also put together a pretty thorough description of almost every corner of the Star Wars universe. In the times before Essential Guides and Visual Dictionaries, WEG published dozens of roleplaying manuals covering topics as vast as the Galactic Empire itself or as narrow as the legal situation of scouts in the New Republic era, describing almost every single nook and cranny of the galaxy with a level of detail that probably has never been reached again. Read More